Why Top 45?

These are the things that float to the top of my list of activities that I want to do for the year 2012 when I am 45 years old. The list is comprised of things that I have either never tried or have wanted to try and just didn't have the courage or time to do it. Follow along and watch my progress and feel free to comment or add words of encouragement to help keep me going for the next 365 days!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Chrismas

I can hardly believe it is December 24th!  Tomorrow is Christmas and while this has not been the easiest year for me, I still have so much to be thankful for and recognize this fact. 
Only a few more days until the 'official' start of 2012 and my Top 45 at 45...looking forward to the kick off!
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Marilyn Monroe

I haven't see My Week with Marilyn yet, but I plan to see it soon.  Even Marilyn had words of wisdom like Madea's advice (if you haven't watched it yet, see the previous post).

“This life is what you make it. Not matter what, you're going to mess up sometimes, it's a universal truth. But the good part is you get to decide how you're going to mess it up. Girls will be your friends - they'll act like it anyway. But just remember, some come, some go. The ones that stay with you through everything - they're your true best friends. Don't let go of them. Also remember, sisters make the best friends in the world. As for lovers, well, they'll come and go too. And baby, I hate to say it, most of them - actually pretty much all of them are going to break your heart, but you can't give up because if you give up, you'll never find your soul mate. You'll never find that half who makes you whole and that goes for everything. Just because you fail once, doesn't mean you're gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don't, then who will, sweetie? So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life's a beautiful thing and there's so much to smile about.”
~Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sister Wives

No, I am not a polygamist nor do I support the concept of a plural marriage, at least not for myself.  However, I can understand the camaraderie of the wives in the TLC show, Sister Wives, because I agree with the quote that comes from an old African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child.  I only watched a couple of episodes of Sister Wives because soon after it debuted, I cancelled my cable, but I am fascinated by and support the idea of sharing mothering duties with other woman, and these 'wives' have created their own village.  It is a great concept because, in addition to having a great mom, I was also "raised" by many surrogate mothers including Fi-fie, Janie M., Gayle, Betty, Susan, Linda and many others.  Also, I have many mother/friends who help me raise my daughter because, as a single mom, I know it would be very difficult on my own.  Someone once told me that my family is like a small tribe, and I extend the definition of family to include the many strong mothers with whom I surround myself and Nicole.

Without my 'sister wives', I would not feel like I could even dream of taking on the goals I have assembled for myself for next year.  I know that I can and will call on these women to help me with Nicole in a moment's notice, without need of explanation, if I have to work, squeeze in a work out, or just need take a break. 

A couple of years ago, I drew a tree to make a point to a therapist I was seeing to get through a rough patch.  The trunk of the tree was me and the roots had the names of many of the people that I consider as part of my tribe, my family.  It is an interesting coincidence that my new friend, Anita, sent me this video of Tyler Perry as Madea describing different types of people who come into our lives.  "Some people come into our life for a lifetime and some for a season. . . you gotta know which.  And you gonna always mess up when you mix the season people up with lifetime expectations," said Madea.  I love how she describes different people as either leaves, branches or roots and I recognize my 'roots' and I am so thankful that they help keep me grounded, supported and keep me standing tall.

Thanks to all my 'sister wives' and roots, I am grateful for all of you!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Two-Way Street

"Example is not the main thing in influencing others.  It is the only thing." ~Albert Schweitzer

I read this quote today and it made me also remember one of the reasons I am undertaking my adventure of the Top 45 at 45 next year.  As mother to Nicole, I have been thinking a lot lately about how I am a role model for her.  At 9 years old, she is a precious, young lady.  I get lots of compliments about how well behaved she is and a good friend to her friends. 

Last summer she attended a camp at the Paramount Theater here is Austin and I was in awe of her performance on stage, being brave enough to sing and dance in front of hundreds of adults and kids.  She has also become quite the competitor in swimming and works really hard at everything she does from homework to learning her singing and dancing routines and learning swim strokes.  Today she received her Principal's Pride award from her teacher at school and the write up stated, "Nicole is one of the hardest working students.  She is very responsible and mature but still knows how to have a good laugh. Way to go, Nicole!"  I am so very proud of her and want to continue to be one of her role models, because she sure is one of mine.  It is a two-way street!

Monday, December 5, 2011


A big reason I wanted to have a Top 45 at 45 is to challenge myself to keep learning and growing.  A large section of the list contains Creative and/or Knowledge building items. 

See Below:

  1. Minimum one handwritten note/story a month to Nicole turned into a Christmas present book for 2012 - ongoing
  2. Creative writing class – DOM - January
  3. Photography class – February        
  4. Art class - February
  5. Top 45 @ 45 Blog - ongoing
  6. Courage to Change/One Day at a Time Blog - ongoing
  7. The Artist’s Way writing and Art dates - ongoing
  8. A letter/note a month to a friend or family member – ongoing
  9. IPhone/Android app/Apple class – January
  10. Practice French - ongoing
  11. A Whole Foods or Central Market Cooking class 
  12. Organize family birthday calendar and distribute @ Christmas – December

I have made some adjustments to this list since I first posted it, most notably I have made the handwritten note/story to Nicole a monthly minimum as well as the letter/note to a friend or family member so the spirit of the activity is not lost on trying to reach a number.  If I am so inspired to write more, I will.

I have always wanted to take a creative writing class, a cooking class, an art class and a photography class.  The desire to take an Apple class is pretty new and comes from using the computer technology that I have at my disposal to its fullest.  The Artist's Way is a book that I started using last year then it fell by the way side when life happened.  I am hoping to finish the 11 week 'course' that the book outlines and then follow the morning pages and Art dates with myself throughout the year.  These activities will overlap with some of the other activities on the list, so it should be doable.

Finally, a few (read as MANY) years ago, my sister Fran and I created a family birthday book that had cute cover pages for each month and then the names and birth dates of family members written in each month where it occurred.  There have been so many babies born since we made it (and unfortunately a few deaths) that it is time for an update.  It seems that all of my siblings are probably done having babies, so hopefully this is the last revision needed for this book until grand-babies start coming along.

It has been a rainy weekend here in Austin and it turned quite cold last night.  Between listening to the heavy rain and the thunder, that we haven't heard in Austin for quite a while, I didn't get a lot of sleep last night.  Two things I don't mind, swimming which involves getting wet, and being cold are okay separate, but the thought of swimming today while it is pretty cold out was not appealing because I do not like being wet _and_ cold at the same time.  The fact that I started this blog about my list of Top 45 was enough motivation to get myself out the door and to the pool for Master's swimming today.  As I was walking out of the Y, I saw the following quote that made going to practice even more meaningful today then it usually is, "Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man's growth without destroying his roots." ~Frank A. Clark  I was able to overcome my personal lack of motivation to do my workout and am thankful for the physical as well as the mental exercise that I experienced today.

The countdown begins to the new year and the official start of the Top 45!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Amazing Race

Well, my brother Chris and I decided to do something a little crazy today...

As I believe I have mentioned before, I didn't put things on the list that I don't have control over completing.  But, I am open to amending the list if something like getting chosen to be on Amazing Race happens....

For example, filming happens May and June 2012 which means I would have to forgo the Danskin Triathlon since there would be some overlap.

I saw on Facebook that they were accepting applications last night around 8:45 and called Chris to see if he would be interested in applying with me.  Being the awesome brother that he is, he was here around 9am to complete the application and make a video with me.  When I can figure out how to upload the video, I will, but here are the photos we sent along with the application:

Even though we would be on a team together, his photo is titled 'AmazingRaceLoser' and mine is titled 'AmazingRaceWinner' because he is such a loser.  As a matter of fact, I told him that if we didn't get picked, he should apply to be on "The Biggest Loser" because he is a loser.  This is all in jest of course because I wouldn't pick a loser to be on my team!!!

Will let you know if we are picked!


Our silly videos.  Keep in mind we did this in like 30 minutes and had to enter ASAP so no time to test it out...
Amazing Race Team on You Tube